Illustration by Todd Wiseman
Austin and Dallas are among 20 North American metropolitan areas being considered for a second headquarters for Amazon, the online retailing giant announced Thursday morning.
The cities were among several in Texas that had been competing to lure the company. Competition among cities has been fierce, since Amazon says it plans to invest $5 billion on its new headquarters and create "as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs" in the city it picks.
Thursday's list eliminates two major Texas cities – Houston and El Paso – that were also vying for the spot. Despite initial plans to do so, San Antonio did not submit a bid to host the company's second headquarters. City officials told Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in October that "blindly giving away the farm isn't our style."
Tiny Milam County and Frisco also submitted bids to the company, but were left off the short list. It's not immediately clear whether Frisco still has a shot, since Amazon said it's considering metropolitan areas and Frisco is suburb of Dallas.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings tweeted Thursday that he's "thrilled" Dallas is still being considered for the site.
Thrilled to be in the next round of @amazon HQ2 process. There’s much work left to be done but I want to thank my fellow mayors, @DRChamber, @FTWChamber and all our citizens for making @CityOfDallas and DFW such a desirable place to be!
— Mike Rawlings (@Mike_Rawlings) January 18, 2018
Cities across North America have offered major economic incentives to lure Amazon, including tax breaks and land. And while some cities have publicly offered up their proposals to the tech giant – New Jersey, for example, has pledged up to $7 billion in tax incentives, and Chicago officials offered Amazon tax credits of about $1.32 billion in income taxes – Texas cities have stayed quieter about what they're willing to put on the table. Austin city officials said in October that no local financial incentives were included in their bid for the headquarters.
"Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough – all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity,” said Holly Sullivan, Amazon's head of worldwide economic development. “Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation.”
While this week's news narrows the list of contenders quite a bit – including by eliminating all the regions in Mexico that submitted bids – it brings few surprises. Long-time frontrunners like Atlanta and Denver – The New York Times algorithm's early pick – remain in the running, while the company has eliminated long-shot candidates like Stonecrest, Georgia, population 20,000, which pledged to rename itself after Amazon if selected.
Amazon said it expects to make a final decision on a site this year.
Here's the list of all 20 cities:
- Columbus, Ohio
- Los Angeles
- Montgomery County, Maryland
- Nashville, Tennessee
- Newark, New Jersey
- New York City
- Northern Virginia
- Raleigh, North Carolina
- Washington, D.C.